Come Alive! 2016
A Festival of Museum Theatre
31 October 2016
This past Saturday, the curtain came down on the Come Alive Festival of Museum Theatre, following its seventh annual run.
Come Alive is a performance festival where students gain inspiration from the exhibitions and collections of cultural institutions and create theatre performances that have drawn on a variety of characters, objects, events and stories from our history.
In 2016, Come Alive was hosted for the first time by the National Library of Australia in collaboration with the Museum of Australian Democracy (MoAD) at Old Parliament House.
The week-long festival has once again been a great success, with participation by ten schools and colleges and approximately 170 students. During the week participating schools presented a total of twenty performances which varied between fifteen and thirty minutes in duration. Topics chosen ranged from the Death of James Cook to the story of ‘The original Crocodile Dundee’, Rod Ansell, to the fall of the Berlin Wall, Feminism and the Women's Weekly and the occupation of the Cambodian Embassy in Canberra by squatters in 1985. Students chose their topic, researched, devised and developed their ideas into an original piece to tell the story through theatre, dance and music as well as visual media.
Performances were developed over a period of months under the watchful eye of Come Alive’s Artistic Director, Peter Wilkins, who provided his experience and expertise to students throughout the entire festival. We congratulate and thank Peter and the teachers and students who have embraced the aims and opportunities offered by Come Alive and gained so much from the experience.
The National Library of course welcomes creative interpretations of our collection. The staging of this festival was a perfect fit with the Library’s purpose which is to develop, curate, and preserve an astounding and diverse collection that inspires, delights and educates Australians. Each performance piece focussed on ideas gleaned from research undertaken at the National Library and MoAD, and aimed to further illuminate our knowledge and understanding of our stories.
Come Alive is a very special event, and the only one of its kind in Australia to our knowledge. It is our hope that other cultural institutions will continue to endeavour to provide the opportunity for students to engage with their nation’s cultural heritage in original and exciting ways. It is for this reason that the Library is developing a learning resource to assist teachers, students and cultural institutions in staging a festival like Come Alive in their local area. Keep an eye on our Digital Classroom in the coming months to see it take shape.